Thursday 19 April 2018


Why is John Role’ being removed from Appogg?


I have just been informed by several foster parents that the worst possible thing to happen to fostering in Malta has happened – John Role’, the man who made it all happen, is being removed from his post.  I have checked this information with several people and as far as I can tell it is true.

I don’t know what the internal politics of all this are, and I really don’t care, but this will be a devastating blow for the children involved and to the foster parents who so selflessly take on this challenging role.  I am in touch with several of them and I know for a fact that it is only sheer perseverance and love of the children whom they are raising, that keeps them going when they are made to jump through hoops for every little thing. Throughout all this John Role’ has been their beacon of light.

But I will let the foster parents speak for themselves:

I am disgusted, shocked and very sad at the news that John Role, leader of the fostering team inside Appogg has been taken off his position. A man who dedicated his life to helping children in need. A good man with a great heart who is always there for others. He knows each and every child by name, has known them since they were born. My mentor for many years, teaching me ways to understand the difficulties these children in care face, teaching me compassion, love & respect for those who are suffering. This is one great INJUSTICE and I hope all foster carers on the island including all the children rise up and voice their concern about this shameful, unjust, undeserved decision. Let us show Malta that John Role’ is loved and we need him to lead the fostering team!”

Another parent voiced similar thoughts:

“John knows every single child’s name and those of the parents and foster parents, and their history.  That’s the kind of person that should be making decisions for these children and for me when the decision was taken for him not to sit on the Board it was a bad, bad mistake as no one else knows these children as he does.”

The Minister for Social Policy Michael Farrugia should be ashamed for letting this happen (I cannot think what reason there could possibly be), and this decision needs to be reversed now. Throwing away the talents of such a dedicated man is a despicable act especially if it’s being done simply to place someone in his stead who cannot possibly measure up.  No one else has John’s experience in this sector, and that’s a fact. Without John Role’ to turn to many foster parents will simply give up, and any hope for encouraging others to foster will be lost.

Ultimately, it will be the children in care who will suffer, and if that is something the Minister (or whoever took this decision) can live with, then their hearts must be made of stone.


Following the collection of 890 signatures in less than 24 hours and pressure from public opinion (especially foster carers), the decision was reversed and Mr Role’ was reinstated.

  • Jacqui C Holloway

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. This is disgusting and shameful to whomever allowed this to happen. More fool you to the person that tries to step into his shoes! This man, John Role was the person that without a shadow of a doubt, put the kids FIRST. Always fought their corner and always ensured we as foster carers had the right tools and education to get the job done. What will happen to the children now? who is going to fight their corner?
    Its a disgrace and needs to be reversed.
    rant over (or maybe not lol)

  • Alfred Azzopardi

    John needs to be sure that this role is worth staying in or simply finding another. It all depends on what his heart is saying. But if the role of team leader at appogg is what John really needs to have a content, fulfilled heart then I’m right behind him. Whatever his wishes. A petition?

  • Maria Azzopardi

    I want to say thank you to John for fighting for our rights! He is an amazing man and I am so sorry for what is happening! It makes us all very sad but especially us children as we know John from when we were little! This is not right. it is very unfair…please let John be !

  • Heidi Farrugia

    like you said Josanne I really do not care about the internal politics and NEVER EVER did i think for an instance that the social services will be TAINTED with politics! Everybody who knows John, knows what a kind man he is dedicating his whole life to fostering, fighting for the children’s rights. No one has his experience. Have those who took this decision even once brought the children in care before their eyes, is this seeking what is in the best interest of the child??? John who knows each and every child from birth practically !! I still cannot believe that this is happening!! SHAME ON THOSE WHO TOOK THIS DECISION!! SHAME !!

  • Patricia

    Unfortunately fighting this absolute abomination will not be easy as too many will be afraid to speak out for fear it will have a detrimental affect on those they care for, sad but true. Which of course is where John always came to the rescue and spoke for those who didn’t have a voice.

    The man must be devastated!! What a kick in the teeth this is.

  • Ruth Zarb

    I am really sorry for John Role’ who dedicated his life for the children to have a caring family to love them as it is all children’s right to be loved and cared for. Thanks to John working with such dedication and limitless and thanks also to his wife Lilian for her support children in Malta are being given a chance to feel loved and not neglected anymore. This defintely is not the way to pay back for all the hard work John Role’has done,
    No other person can ever be so dedicated as him. I am really worried about the future in Fostering as his help even during late hours and weekends is essential to cope with difficult situation.
    Thanks John for all you have done for these children and foster carers.

  • anna azzopardi

    The persons who took this drastic decision to remove John Role from this post, must really not have any idea what personal support means for foster carers and especially for the children we foster. Having been a foster family since the beginning of fostering in Malta 16 years ago, we had many social workers being replaced for various reasons which did a lot of harm and disencouraged building trust with the persons we confide in.
    The children we foster need a lot of time and hard work to start trusting a person after their traumas but John was the only person always remaining there for them and they loved him and confided in him. He is the only person who knows every child by name and knows all their cases. He always worked with great dedication, vocation and professionalism and did a lot of work outside office hours voluntarily. He worked so hard to prepare material for our support group meetings and ongoing training. He also worked intensely to promote awareness in fostering in Malta and slowly became a known face associated with fostering on our media.
    Let us hope this decision will be reconsidered as definitely it is going to be the beginning of the end to so many years of hard work for fostering in Malta. I am sure other foster carers agree with this.

  • magdalene cauchi

    I am shocked at this news. Does Appogg really know what they are doing? Who in Malta has the experience John has regarding fostering and children in residential care? I have worked alongside John for decades and also on the Children’s and Young Person’s Advisory Board with him. He knows the children and their families, parents and grandparents. He supports these children in all their needs. He works right through weekends to keep in touch with these children and their foster families at his personal expense. Shame on whoever is behind this move. This is despicable. If Appogg really has the good of the children at heart above all they would never dare betray these youngsters with this transfer. They deserve better. And to John I say: My friend, do not give up doing the good you do! People can hurt your heart but they cannot break your soul! You are a man of vision and action and I know you will find a way to keep on helping children live in the families they deserve to be living in. May God bless you.

  • Anne Cachia

    John is one of a kind and irreplaceable. No one will fit into his shoes. He made himself available 24/7, always ready to help and intervene. Please let common sense prevail. John is the father of fostering in Malta and Malta needs him. Bring him back.

  • Rodianne Galea

    hope this decision will be reconsidered again…..for sure there will be no anyone like JOHN ROLE…..He works a lot for fostering, he is a very dedicated person and has helped a lot of children to find a suitable home where they can be loved ……apart that he is always ready to help the foster carers in every possible way…..

  • anne

    how dreadful !!!! a loveley man dedicated to his fostering and very eager to improve the fostering service in Malta. Petition??

  • Joseph Borg Vella
  • john is respected globally for his work. He has put Malta on the international child care map. This is an enormous step backwards for children and foster carers in Malta. Whoever is responsible for this decision needs to reconsider their judgment and reinstate John with immediate effect.

  • myrna mcnitt

    John Role had a vision of improving outcomes for the children without parental care in Malta. He worked hard to make that vision become a reality. He was a tireless advocate for children. It is unbelievable that John has been removed from his post. I would beg the officials to reconsider and find a way to work together with this fine man.

  • carmendemicoli

    I am disgusted shocked and very at the news that John Role leader of the Fosterting team inside appogg has been taken off his position .A man who dedicated his life to helping children in need .A good man with a great heart who is always there for other s.John has touched many lives .He is truly an inspiration to many.His dedication and hard work for fostering can only be admired.

  • William Borg

    I have only one thing to say regarding this. I think that whoever took this decision has no idea what fostering is. John Role is the fostering itself.

  • Charles Arapa

    This is disgusting. Who took this decision does not know anything about appogg and fostering. I agree as others said there should be a petition.


    to us John Role’ was always there for us he taught us a lot and we are very great full ….if it was not for him he taught us how we get our kids to trust us and not to be abused and my God it worked my kid is now 18 and studying to become a nurse and later a doctor ……this was with a lot of thanks to Mr.John Role’
    i am sure Mr.Role deserves better for all the hard work and hours he put in this work that he done with LOVE…….

  • Josann Borg

    This is a great loss for us foster carers and children, hence a loss for fostering in Malta. John Role is the pulse of fostering with a large baggage filled with personal experiences which he continually shared with us foster carers. Not only this but he is also highly trusted by fostered children, even though trust is one of their main issues they have. Hope this decision is reversed , since when a crisis arose he was always the first one to be present whatever the time or day. Please let’s continue to help these kids!

  • Thea Micallef

    i simply cannot accept the fact that such a great person who worked wonders with children and adoptive parents or fostering parents has been removed from his work. Did you ever realize the impact it will have on all the fostered and adoptive kids. He needs to be there he knows what the kids need . Aren’t the kids our future …? So give them a future , give them back John role. Thanks . I am sure that you as a parent will realize that these kids need a father figure and John role was one heck of a father figure for them. Thanks .

  • Philippa Roberts

    I presume that John RoIe was replaced or sacked, not he retired of his own free will? If so in such a specialized field, who on earth made this decision and more important especially to those concerned, who will be replacing him?

  • Brandon Holloway

    My mummy told me that John Role was not going to be at Appogg anymore and this upset me a lot. He is the person that helped my mummy when she was upset or hurt by what we did and said to her. When I needed to talk to somebody John was always there and would come to my house. When my bike was taken away from me by a mean person, it was John that gave mummy a new one and I loved it. He is not just a social worker to us – he is a friend.

    Now mummy has just told me that he will be allowed to stay because the people in charge have changed their minds because of what we are saying. This makes me very happy and my mummy very happy too. I am who I am because he helped and was not scared to get involved. I love him.

  • Simone Ellul

    May I voice my comment too here as I too was removed from my post at Agenzija Sapport which is the sister agency of Agenzija Appogg seven months ago, a job I dearly loved with persons with disability. I still miss my job till this day and I am still jobless too! All this happened because one person lied about me and the manager and director did not even hear my voice but just told me ‘to pack and leave’. I opened a case with the Ombudsman at that time which is still open and being discussed. I cannot understand why this is happening again and to someone who has been there for many years. Something must be done to safeguard our jobs within the government. I always thought the government was a safe place to work in. I was wrong it seems as I wasn’t even heard with my version of things. I do not wish on anyone what I went through after I was discharged. May God help this man overcome this time of difficulty and the courage to move one eventually.

  • Chris Abela

    It is great that John was reinstated. I have worked much with his at St Patrick’s Salesian School and in social work at Appogg. He is an icon in the Maltese fostering scene, although there other dedicated people that are very capable at Appogg. However I think that John, with his vast experience with children in care, and his love for children and foster carers is very hard to replace.

  • Mark Schembri

    Another move to deny these children a better future and offer them security.
    A Minister undermining the fantastic work that the foster REAL parents are doing , excusing the atrocious acts of the bio parents and having a banal excuse not to move forward.
    OK give the option of open adoption then – it is NOT in the law. Any lawyer will laugh at you if you suggest it.

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